THE PROVINCIAL government's environmental assessment office has officially started to review the long-planned Northwest Transmission Line.
All of the required documentation needed to begin the scheduled 180-day review has been received and checked, says Kathy Eichenberger, the environmental assessment official who will be overseeing the review.
“The public comment period begins April 26 and lasts until June 10,” said Eichenberger in outlining some of the key elements of the review.
Public meetings are planned April 27 in Dease Lake, April 28 in Smithers and April 29 in Terrace.
The planned finishing date to have the assessment completed and handed to the environment and energy, mines and petroleum resources ministers for a decision is Oct. 12.
Those ministers have 45 days to decided to approve or not approve the project.
The transmission line, which would start at the Skeena Substation near Terrace, would run up Hwy37 North, ending at a place called Bob Quinn.
Its construction will lead to the ability of mining companies with promising properties to develop those properties because they will have access to reliable and cost-effective power.
Those companies will, however, have to build connecting lines to connect to the larger line.
Construction of the line will also open up the possibility of companies to produce power via run of river generators or other means and feed that power into the provincial grid.
If approved, the line will be built by the B.C. Transmission Corporation, a provincial crown corporation responsible for the province's electrical distribution network.
The anticipated cost is $404 million and the province is counting on a federal commitment to provide up to $130 million of that cost.